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Broncos Add Linebacker Depth, But Will It Effect The Draft?

Word came out late yesterday that the Broncos had signed a pair of free-agent linebackers, Warrick Holdman and D.D. Lewis to contracts.  The depth is definitely needed, based on what the Broncos had at the position after officially releasing Al Wilson earlier this week.  The timing of it all is a bit odd to say the least, unless there might be more behind it than meets the eye.

Before I get into that, let's take a look at the tow latest additions to the roster, and what rolls they might fill...

 Warrick Holdman -- Holdman was originally drafted in the 4th round by the Chicago Bears and made an immediate impact.  Holdman has more of an impact on the weak-side, but all indications are he'll compete for the strong-side spot vacated by D.J. Williams should he in fact move inside.   His best season with Chicago came in 2001, when Holdman amassed 107 tackles.  2002 was cut short by injury and Holdman ended up leaving the Bears after the 2003 season.  After a brief stay in Cleveland, which allowed Holdman to prove once again that he was healthy, he signed with the Washington Redskins.  Last season was one of Holdman's better efforts, and if he plays at a similar level to last season it could end up to be a shrewd move for Shanny and Co.  Holdman's career numbers are below --

 D.D. Lewis -- Lewis has spent his entire career in Seattle, after the Seahawks signed him as an undrafted Free Agent in 2002.  Lewis has skills, especially on special teams, which the Broncos sorely lack, especially with the retirement of Keith Burns.  The problem has been health, with Lewis missing 31 of his last 48 team games due to injury, including all of 2004.

Lewis is more suited for the strongside, though he can also play middle linebacker, and if he can stay healthy he will upgrade the special teams in a big way.  His career number are below --

There are question involving both players, but if just one of them turns out to be an effective player next season the team will be much better off for it.  It's amazing how things can change so fast over the course of 8 months or so.  Heading into 2006, the strength of the Broncos was their linebacking corp.  Now, it is somewhat a weakness, with question marks all over the field.

So what doe sthis mean on draft day?  Perhaps nothing.  Neither of these guys is a star, and you really can never have enough depth at linebacker.  I believe it means the Broncos won't go linebacker in round one, even if they do move up, and perhaps could mean they won't pick one in round 2 either, if they keep the #56 pick.  One things for sure, Shanny is a master of keeping his draft plans secret and no one will truly know what is on his mind until the Broncos are on the clock.  

Hat Tip to FLBroncoFan for posting the diary last night!